Friday, April 18, 2008

Festering issues

You may not agree with this, Gentle Reader, but I've got to get this out else it will continue to fester inside, oozing and throbbing. This is a rant. You now know this in advance. So, I'm going to lance it as best I can, and it's probably going to be a long post, so I apologize in advance if you were looking for something light-hearted to jump start your morning. I'll try to post something happier later.

However. Two news stories this week have bugged the holy cow out of me and I've just got to get these feelings out! The first: the toddler who was, literally, held down and forced to smoke pot from some &$!@#$ teenager's pipe and the second: the FLDS raid, where they have taken children (over 400 of them, with about 130 of them under the age of 4) away because of alleged abuse (that happens because they are married off so early...the State of Texas allows marriage at age 16 with consent of a parent).

The first story upset me so much when I saw it that I had to turn off the video feed, and I burst into tears. It's haunting to watch and I haven't even seen all of it, it affected me so. The basic story is some teenager went to a pawn shop and sold his camcorder (probably for more drug money) but left a tape in it. On the tape (and what we the viewer see) are two teenagers and a toddler they were watching, and the teens are smoking pot. They literally hold this baby down and put the pipe in her mouth over and over and laugh about it. Watching this little baby struggling to get away while these two teenagers are trying to get the pipe into her face made me beyond angry. After they "succeeded" and the poor baby started coughing, they shoved a sippy into her mouth before putting the pipe back.

ARRRRRRRGGGGGGHHHH! At that point, I had to turn it off. It still upsets me, because I see that baby (who is now 2, and I'm sure it wasn't the first or last time this happened to her) and immediately think of O. I read comments about it and totally could empathize when one writer said that if something like this happened to one of his/her children, "they wouldn't be able to find the bodies" of the teenagers who did it. I do not condone murder, but I can appreciate the feeling behind the post. The "good" news is that the baby is now out of this environment, but still. She will be effected her whole life. Who knows what that has done to her developing brain and nervous system and....ugh. I could go on, but I'm sure you see what I'm talking about.

Before I launch into the second story, you need to know that I am against polygamy (hello! It's against the law to have more than one wife and OHHHHHH the smears against my religion because of these cults still practice it), I am SO against child abuse and especially sexual abuse and firmly feel people who violate this should be castrated, at the least. Seriously. I do. The damage they do to children...I just...I can't even verbalize the hurt to my heart even thinking about such evil. I look at my own children and I cannot abide the idea of anyone damaging them so, and yet it happens every day more often than any of us know. I am not a perfect mother, and I acknowledge this, but there is a line that should never be crossed, and it is my RESPONSIBILITY as a person to protect my children and others.

That said, while I have sympathy for the intent of what the State of Texas has done, I am INFURIATED at how it has happened. They have, by sweeping in and taking all the children, basically stripped this community of all their legal and constitutional rights. They have punished these babies for this "alleged" abuse (and it may be there are cases of this abuse because I highly doubt they have choices as we'd want them to have. BUT!!!!). They can't even identify the supposed 16 year old caller who phoned in to report abuse, and the man she claimed was her husband and caused the abuse hasn't been in Texas since 1977!!!! AND, instead of dealing with this situation on a family by family basis, like they would any other case, OR, taken away the MEN out of the compound so they could go family by family, they have yanked ALL of the children under the "probability" that IF one household is abusive, all must be abusive because of their weird belief systems.

In fact, the head CPS investigator Angie Voss said, "When asked if she believes that the children should return to the compound, Voss said they should not because the sect members do not believe they are doing anything wrong."

HELLLLLLLLOOOOOOOOO! The state of Texas did something wrong. Granted, this compound is based on a religious lifestyle that we don't understand. We are definitely the outsiders. But can you imagine if the U.S. government went into an Amish community like this? Or a Muslim community? Or even fenced off any downtown area of any inner city and took children away from their parents because of a potential abuse? 'Cause alot of these kids are living in h*ll holes (see the poor toddler above!!!!) and have young single mother's under the age of 18 . I mean, these FLDS families have had 400 of their babies (some as young as 6 months old) taken from them, and these children...this is all they know! Everyone they love and know are G.O.N.E. They do not understand, nor are many of them able to comprehend, what is going on. They just know their mom and dad are being kept way from them (in particular, their moms) and often the older children, who could comfort younger siblings, have been removed from them as well!!!! And, considering the size of Texas, can you imagine trying to find adequate foster homes for 400+ children--because like all CPS agencies, I'm sure they are adeptly handling all the rest of the children in the system? And the state hopes to break this cycle of a cult how? By breaking up these families.

Let me put this another way. We live in our community quietly for years, and some people think we are darn strange and carry on strange practices that they don't feel are "normal" and that we don't have choices but are brainwashed into accepting this lifestyle (well...that's just described how some people view the entire state of Utah, doesn't it my LDS friends? And what about me, a "Mormon." Yep. I've heard folks talk about me and my beliefs this way. And what about you other devote Christians, too. See, if you aren't doing what the "world" wants you to be doing, you are ABNORMAL and brainwashed). So, ARMED law enforcement (with machine guns and bullet proof vehicles!) go to our local elementary school, and based on a "tip" that purported abuse has occurred from someone they can't even identify, have taken all of our children away. They are now forced to live away from us. No contact, not even by phone just in case we are trying to get "our stories straight." And some are even younger than 5. And you, as a parent, CANNOT get to them, even though you have been told by some that if you cooperate, you will see them again. But you don't and can't. You may even be a nursing mother, but that doesn't matter. Your infant may be susceptible to abuse, based on this one tip.

I'd be more than bawling, like those poor FLDS mothers are. I'd be frantic. This, Gentle Reader, is stripping away SO many constitutional rights it's not even funny. I'd also be suing the State of Texas, that's what I'd be doing.

There are two atrocities going on here and I can see why people would be torn about this case: Alleged Abuse and Stripping of Constitutional Rights

But let me just remind you of a little group of people...they were called the Nazi's and they rounded up, on purported charges, people that were of different faiths and view points and separated them from the rest of society so they could "break the cycle" of the existence of these people. And one of the most efficient ways to do this, get 'em while they are young and get them before they can repopulate. This is just wrong.

If the government can enter their temple, what's to prevent them from entering MY temple? If the government can strip them of their children based on (let's be honest) blatant religious prejudice, what's to keep them from taking my children because they think *I* and my belief system are "weird." You see where I'm going, right? And all this based on an unsubstantiated "tip." It's not right. Because now it's up to the parents to PROVE (guilty until proven innocent?) that no abuse occurred. Ugh.

And what bugs me is that I'm sure, with a group that large, some abuse did go on. That SICKENS me. I highly doubt, however, that all were complicit. Yet, our "experts" who are sharing their experiences with the media and thus the world, are disenfranchised FLDS people, who "escaped" this cult. Surely you heard just this morning about "CNN's Nancy Grace speaks to former FLDS child bride Carolyn Jessop who describes the alleged abuses she suffered," such as babies being water tortured? I hope this didn't happen, but really now. As anyone knows, the very best people to ask about a group of people (like Mormons) are individuals who are NO LONGER part of that group (like ex-Mormons), because they'll tell you the truth, not this indoctrinated brainwashed crap all believers are forced to uphold, don't you know. Oh, uh huh. What. A. Hot. Mess.

Thank you for putting up with this rant.

I'll end with this last thought:

"They came first for the Communists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew.
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn't speak up because I was a Protestant.
Then they came for me, and by that time no one was left to speak up."

~Pastor Martin Niemöller (1892–1984)

1 comment:

gb said...

Regardless of the religious and polygamist issues, I think we all agree that child abuse needs to be detected faster and prosecuted more vigorously. Does anyone know of any especially innovative ways to do this? We've created an online role-playing course that lets teachers (who often notice signs of abuse, but fail to act) practice a conversation with a possible child abuse victim. It gives expert feedback after every choice. If you know of other innovative programs (using technology or not), please let us know. Thanks!